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|Flat Coated Retriever general features, temperament, health|
Breed: When someone is describing a Flat-Coated Retriever, you can hear that he looks like a long-haired Labrador, or a cross between a Collie and Labrador.
Both of these explanations leave much room for a more elegant description of the Flat-Coated Retriever. Thanks to the Portuguese Water Spaniels, all the major breeds of dogs for hunting have their roots either in the British Isles, or in America.
Labrador, Flattie and Curly can trace their origins from both coasts. Before 1800 the Retrievers were not exactly considered as a gun dogs. Pointers, Setters and Spaniels have been adapted for both - for the search and specifying the location of the game, and for the retrieving.
Today most of the true hunters will certainly work with both - a Pointer (or a Setter), and a Retriever. One is required in order to determine the location of the hidden game, the other - just for retrieving.
Around 1810 the Labradors were imported to the British Isles and by 1860, all three species have formally existed. Flat-Coated Retrievers as a breed, were actively formed around 1840 by crossing Labrador Retrievers and Setters.
In 1860 at the first dog shows there were presented two types of Retrievers: with the curly coat and with the wavy (more straightened) coat. These Retrievers with the wavy coats became the basis for a Flat Coated Retriever, and since 1864 have been allocated in their own class.
A new breed has become the most popular dog between the English rangers because of the extraordinary love for work and ability to quickly and clearly find and retrieve a trophy. This fact - of course - led to the rapid increasing of the population of the Flat-Coated Retrievers.
Doctor Bond More and Sevalis Evelyn Shirley were actively participating in the development of the breed. Dr. More has developed a breed standard, and Evelyn Shirley made an enormous contribution to the breeding, effectively working on the Flattie's coat.
Evelyn Shirley was breeding Fletties and he owned some of the best producers of those times.The dogs of his breeding are still considered as the founders of the breed. In 1873 Evelyn Shirley became the first president of the Flat-Coated Retriever Club.
By the end of 19 century the Flat-Coated Retrievers have become one of the most popular hunting breeds in England. Labradors were also actively developing and soon exceeded Flatties by number. Labs at the time were more heavy, better suited to stay in the cold water.Several breeders from 1900 decided to do a further work on the appearance of a Flat-Coated Retriever. They decided that the dog needs a longer jaws for the better delivery of pheasant or hare. For this purpose the Fletties were crossed with Collies, what made the Retrievers also more obedient and more easy to train.
After this experiment the Flat-Coated Retriever changed his appearance. The head of Flattie became long and slender, with the elongated snout, it was the absolute opposite of his cousin - the Labrador.
Flat-Coated Retriever has always been a dog of the British rangers, and by the time, when the wars began, most of the Flatties were kept and bred by the rangers. Large kennels were breeding Labradors and Golden Retrievers, and the rangers were the first volunteers, had gone to the front. Therefore, "their" breed was hardly surviving.
For the first time at the dog show the Flat-Coated Retriever was presented in 1860 in by the English breeder Brailsford. And after 45 years - in 1905 - these dogs were separated from the other Retrievers as a different breed.
General Features: The Flat-Coated Retriever is a versatile dog, he is a perfect companion for all family members, and a great hunter's helper, this dog is active, agile, intelligent, with a nice cheerful character. The Flat-Coated Retriever has elongated, powerful body, clean lines, the head is unique to the breed. The working retriever is well balanced, strong, yet graceful, in any case not a stocky, short or rounded. His coat is dense and flat without undercoat. Ideally it should be absolutely flat, but still a slightly wavy coat is allowed. There is a longer feathering on the legs and tail. The allowed colors are: black and liver (dark brown). Proud behavior, obedience, wagging tail and a smart look, quality, style and symmetry completes the picture of a typical Flat-Coated Retriever.
Temperament: This is one of the most beautiful Retrievers - a swan-neck, proudly posed narrow head, intelligent eyes and a shiny coat of black or dark brown ("liver") color - the main features of the appearance of this breed.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is a wonderful natural hunter. Like all Retrievers, Fletties are magnificent gun dogs, but they are also perfectly adapted to the city life and long time ago became an excellent companions. The only thing you have to do if you keep this dog in the city - provide Flettie enough of long walks, or his activity can easily become destructive in the apartment, which, incidentally, applies to virtually all Retrievers.
Like all Retrievers, Fletties feel happy if they have the opportunity to carry something in their mouth and play in the water. The hunting instincts of a Flat-Coated Retriever are very strong and his owners sometimes have to make efforts to stop their pet from digging in the garden or picking up from the ground while walking. But Flettie is very gifted and quickly learns what his owner wants from him. The main problem that arises before the trainer of a Flettie - is to keep the interest of the dog. The Flat-Coated Retriever can easily get bored if he is day-to-day forced to repeat the same exercise.
This Retrievers had proven themselves in agility. This elegant dog can develop a good speed, and combined with the intelligence it gives him a good chance of winning.
Any Flattie will be very happy if you take him out for hunting. For a long time in Europe the Flat-Coated Retrievers were the only breed whose population was not divided into a dogs of show class and workers. Until now the breeders in the selection of the best dogs are looking not only at the titles received at the exhibitions, but also on the diplomas from the field trials.
The Flat-Coated Retriever is a little bit more reserved with the strangers than the other Retrievers. He is quite capable to raise the alarm, but still you should not expect from him any special vigilance. Fletties are normally very good-natured dogs and they are able to play carefully with children. Yet sometimes they have to be taught caution in dealing with the very young babies.
It is difficult to find a more cheerful dog than the Flat-Coated Retriever. These dogs develop slowly, becoming a full "adult" form only three years. But they remain active up to the very old age, always ready to hunt and have fun.
In Fletties the "teenage time" is quite active, although it happens later than in many other breeds: a period when the dog is actively looking for a higher place in the "pack"- a family. During this period, Flattie becomes disobedient, and may struggle to seek adventures. Only the skilful handling and sensitivity will help you to cope with this dog in this period.
Health problems: The Flat-Coated Retriever is generally a quite healthy breed. Still, in some lines dog of this breed are prone to the hip dysplasia or epilepsy.